Let’s take a look at trades that happened today, July 26.
Note: Cole Hamels trade isn’t official so it will be included in tomorrow’s trade recaps
Yankees acquire JA Happ
The Yankees have acquired SP JA Happ from the Blue Jays for INF Brandon Drury and OF Billy McKinney. Happ, 35, has a 4.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 3.84 FIP. Drury, 25, has dealt with injuries this season and is hitting .176/.263/.275 with 1 home run in just 51 at-bats. McKinney, 23, is hitting .250/.250/.250 in just 2 games this season in the MLB. In Triple-A, he’s hitting .230/.307/.481 with 13 home runs.
Yankees: The Yankees starting rotation has just a 4.02 ERA. They only have two starters to rely on in ace Luis Severino (2.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 2.84 FIP) and CC Sabathia him (3.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 4.55 FIP). Both of those have had their issues as well, as the former has struggled recently and the latter is 38 and has a very bad FIP. Therefore, JA Happ makes sense on paper. He’s struggled recently, but a lot of that may be due to the trade rumors. Therefore, expect him to do better now that he’s finally been traded. His 1.34 HR/9 is a little alarming, but his high ground ball rate and low hard contact rate show that he may be a victim of bad luck. He’ll provide consistency to the Yankees rotation, and that’s all they really need from him. Grade: A-
Blue Jays: While Drury isn’t an on-base guy, he does have some solid pop and can play multiple positions. He’s also controlled through 2022, so he’s a valuable asset that Toronto will have for a while. He would’ve been a good enough return for a rental in Happ, but the Blue Jays also got McKinney. McKinney’s always possessed a solid hit tool, but he’s been on 4 different teams already, thus diminishing his performance. There is a chance that he could prove to be a solid MLB player with consistent playing time, so getting him in the deal is great for the Blue Jays. Grade: A-
Brewers acquire RP Joakim Soria
The Brewers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria and $1 million from the White Sox for LHP Kodi Mederios and RHP Wilber Perez. Soria, 34, has a 2.56 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 2.15 FIP. Mederios, 22, was a first-round pick in 2014. He has a 3.14 ERA in Double-A this season. Perez, 20 has a 2.01 ERA in rookie ball, with impressive peripherals (10.49 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0 HR/9)
Brewers: Soria is a great reliever, but Milwaukee may not be the right fit. Brewers relievers have a 3.31 ERA, which is good for 5th in the MLB. Their starting rotation, on the other hand, has been hit hard with injuries and have no clear frontline starter. Considering Milwaukee’s easiest route to the playoffs is through being a wild card, it makes more sense to acquire a starter who could start in the one-game playoff, such as JA Happ. Pitchers such as Matt Harvey, Nathan Eovaldi, and Zack Wheeler would’ve provided depth. The Brewers could still trade for Harvey or Wheeler, but one has to wonder how much of their farm system they want to trade to fill other needs, considering they still have holes at both second base and shortstop. Grade: C+
White Sox: It was a no-brainer to trade Soria, their only major pending free agent who was coveted by many teams. Landing a former first-round pick in Mederios is critical, as his impressive fastball-slider combo could make him a great reliever. Perez has also had a lot of success in his minor league career so far, so there’s a chance he could develop into a back of the rotation starter. Grade: A
Astros acquire C Martin Maldonado
The Astros have acquired C Martin Maldonado from the Angels in exchange for LHP Patrick Sandoval and $250 international pool money. Maldonado, 31, is hitting .223/.284/.332 with 5 home runs. His value is in his defense though, as he has a career 64 defensive runs saved. Sandoval, 21, has a 2.74 ERA in Single A. His 10.17 K/9, 1.57 BB/9, and 0.39 HR/9 are all very impressive.
Astros: The major problem with the Astros catcher position hasn’t been defense, but its lack off of the offense. Astros catchers are hitting just .225, and all Houston needed to do was find an offensive short-term fix into Brian McCann comes back. Maldonado’s defense and leadership won’t be of use once McCann comes back, and his lack of offense makes him not a very useful asset off the bench. Grade: C-
Angels: Maldonado is a free agent, who looked to have zero trade value. To land a prospect in Sandoval, who’s had success so far in Single-A, is impressive. Who knows, he could be a future middle of the rotation starter for all we know if his production continues. Grade: A